Altvater: Memorial Tournament, Jack Nicklaus make difference for children’s hospitalWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Every PGA Tour tournament must donate a portion of its proceeds to fund charitable activities in their local area. The Memorial Tournament held each year in Columbus, Ohio, is no different.
To kick off the 2015 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, the Legends Luncheon was held at the Ohio Union on the Ohio State University campus. Tournament host Jack Nicklaus and 2015 Memorial honoree Nick Faldo headlined the luncheon, which raised $1 million for Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
This was the fifth year for the annual event and it has contributed $2.9 million to benefit the outstanding work that occurs each day to treat children with cancer or other life-threatening illness. In 2014, Nationwide Children’s Hospital cared for over 1.1 million children from all 50 states and 41 countries.
Each year, Jack and Barbara Nicklaus honor a young person who has undergone treatment at the hospital, but has demonstrated a positive attitude and helped other patients with the Youth Spirit Award.
The 2015 recipient was Juan Crestanello, who was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma two years ago. Crestanello underwent five cycles of chemotherapy, but it didn’t work. He was forced to endure additional rounds of chemo and a bone marrow transplant.
Through it all, he continued his school work, maintained a high GPA, interacted with the staff and other patients at children’s hospital and has finally been declared cancer-free.
For Jack and Barbara Nicklaus, this is not just another photo opportunity and media grab. They interact with the award winners as well as their families. They show true concern for each award winner and revel in their success stories.
Jack Nicklaus admitted to Back 9 Report in a conversation that his wife, Barbara, was the one who got him involved with their charitable programs, but the pride in what has been done as well as what is still yet to be accomplished is very evident in his actions and comments.
With the help of the Memorial Tournament, the PGA Tour, Nationwide and the Nicklauses, these types of medical feats are accomplished every day at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.